Email Question: Coconut Oil

It’s been a while since I’ve featured an email question but I have been receiving questions and I do always answer!  Answering email questions is fun so keep them coming :)

This is a quick question:

Hello, first thing I love your website, it has been a great source for my journey into a more natural way of life.  Now onto my question… Coconut oil is my issue, I know fractionated is a liquid form, I use it with my essential oils. Extra Virgin coconut oil is a rapid melting solid, I use it to cook with.  Lots of homemade lotions and lotion bars call for coconut oil….what type is that?  Sorry to sound clueless but I guess I will just have to sound that way because I am, so maybe you can help.

Thanks for any clarification you can give me.

Coconut oil is touted as a miracle oil.  Honestly, it’s not in my top 5 favorite oils.  It’s pretty great for some people’s hair (not mine but my younger daughter’s hair loves it) and some people swear it’s good for skin.  I will say this and I’m prepared for whatever backlash I might receive: I will not use regular coconut oil on skin.  Especially not my face!  Coconut oil has known comedogenic properties, meaning it has a tendency to clog pores.  Besides that, I’ve used it on my body and my daughters’ and I’m pretty sure it made everyone’s skin drier not to mention the very greasy feeling.

Fractionated coconut oil is preferable over regular coconut oil.  It is a liquid at room temperature and it is much lighter and more easily absorbed.  It is also less likely to clog pores.  For me, extra virgin coconut oil (and olive oil, for that matter) is for cooking and maybe hair but that’s it!

Email me at !

Peppermint Eucalyptus Foot Cream

foot cream

How’s the weather where you are?  Temperatures are starting to dip for us here in the Northeast and so my socks are being dug out from the bottom of my drawer.

I’m not much of a sock girl.  I just love to be barefoot, even inside of shoes.  I rarely wear sneakers (although I’ve been on the hunt for a great pair I love for years now!) and I spend as long as I possibly can in sandals – not flip flops though, I hate flip flops.  My desire to be barefoot can’t compete with the fact that my feet are always the first part of my body to feel the change in weather though.  On our first day with 40° F temperatures, I rummaged around a bit and found my favorite fuzzy socks.  One of my favorite things to do is give myself a foot scrub, slather foot cream on and then immediately put my feet into thick socks.  If you’ve never tried this, you have never felt the true awesomeness of buttery soft feet.  This ritual can only be performed during the months of November and April for me because if it’s too warm out, things can get kind of gross.  So as soon as the temperature permitted, I had to whip up a batch of this scrumptious cream!

This recipe makes 227 grams/8 ounces.

Water Phase

  • 55 grams of colloidal oatmeal tea [see this post for how make it]
  • 58 grams distilled water
  • 9 grams raw honey

Oil Phase

  • 15 grams kukui seed oil
  • 7 grams castor oil
  • 13 grams avocado oil
  • 37 grams shea butter
  • 7 grams beeswax (or other wax of your choice)
  • 15 grams emulsifying wax
  • 7 grams conditioning emulsifier/BTMS

Cool Down Phase

  • 3 grams Optiphen
  • peppermint essential oil (I like 2nd distill because it has more of a sweet candy cane scent but that’s up to you!)
  • eucalyptus essential oil

For information about how to combine these ingredients, see this post

You can add peppermint and eucalyptus oils until you have the smell and tingle you prefer.  I don’t really measure it when I’m making the cream because I smell to see if it’s ready but I don’t exceed 2 grams (that’s probably a lot!).

I promise your feet will be relaxed and silky soft!  Spend all winter pampering your feet so they can be ready to be bare in the summer.

Body Cream Fit for a Queen

Have I been neglectful or what?  I just started a new job and before that I was looking for a new job so I’ve been pretty preoccupied.  For that, I apologize.  Thanks for still rocking with me :)

But it’s that time of year again.  The weather is changing and so it’s time to adjust skincare…again.  The weather seems to be changing much more abruptly that it used to or is it just me?  As soon as the temperature dipped and the air dried out, my skin shriveled up like a dry, dusty raisin.  I love fall but my skin screams, “NO!” at its very first sign of arrival.  For my face, I have revived my sacred oil blend that I swear by.  I’m considering adding a store-bought facial moisturizer too because my skin is so dry. [Read why I don’t make facial moisturizers here]

For my body though, I have brought back the ever popular Creamy Body Frosting.  When I had an Etsy shop, it was my number one seller.  I don’t have a shop anymore because I don’t have the time to dedicate to it, sadly.  So to make up for that, I’m offering you a silky variation on my best seller.  I hope you like it!


creamy body frosting


Percentages [click here for more about lotion-making math] If you use percentages, you can make any amount you’d like at a time.  If you’re really struggling with the math, the amounts you would need to make 16 ounces/454 grams are in blue

Water Phase

  • aloe vera liquid – 32.5% 148 grams
  • colloidal oatmeal tea – 16.2% [click here for how to make this] 74 grams
  • raw honey – 3.9% 18 grams

Oil Phase

  • jojoba oil – 11.4% 52 grams
  • sweet almond oil – 3.9% 18 grams
  • shea butter – 19.3% 88 grams
  • emulsifying wax – 7.5% 34 grams
  • conditioning emulsifier OR cetyl alcohol – 2.2% 10 grams
  • vitamin E oil – 1.8%  8 grams

Cool Down Phase

  • Optiphen – 1.3% 6 grams
  • essential oils or fragrance oil of your choice

If you’re not sure how to combine these ingredients, please see my previous post about the basics of lotion making here.  My foot cream recipe is coming up next!  You’ll never buy a tingling foot cream again.  Happy autumn!


20140724_121137_1.jpg Yes, the title has to be in all caps.  It’s for emphasis.  I need all caps because I’m so excited that after some hundreds of trials, I have finally formulated a scrub I like. I’m, of course, picky about my skincare products.  Duh. That’s mostly why I make my own.  But I am particularly picky about scrubs.  It is so easy to create a scrub that sucks.  It’s much harder to make a crappy lotion or cream.  There are a few store-bought scrubs I like but they always have at least one of two problems: either they have unsavory ingredients or they cost too much.  As for most DIY scrubs…I have a few issues with them.

They are greasy. This is my biggest problem with most DIY scrubs.  They contain oil, salt, and sugar.  This does not a yummy scrub make!  Sure, it will exfoliate but so does a sandbox.  If you’re the kind who likes to scrub often or scrub your whole body, after a while of using this combination of ingredients, your pipes will start to suffer.

They don’t rinse clean. This is related to the fact that they are greasy.  I don’t like oily or sticky residue after scrubbing.  I want my skin to feel supple, yes, but I also want it to feel clean.  I want to moisturize as usual and be on my way.

They are sticky. Sometimes I see a recipe that doesn’t call for much oil or any at all.  Usually, in its place, glycerin is used.  Glycerin is not a bad ingredient for a scrub.  It rinses better than oil but it can leave a sticky film that lingers if you use too much.  It’s a humectant, meaning it draws moisture to the skin, so it has its benefits.

They’re too abrasive. Too much salt can make a scrub harsh.  Sugar is gentler.  Brown sugar is really gentle.  A combination of sea salt and sugar is best, more sugar than salt.

The texture is just all wrong! A good scrub should spread easily, have some slip, feel grainy but not like kitty litter or small pebbles. It should make your skin feel clean, soft, and touchable.  The texture is the most important part of a good scrub!

I like to use my scrub 2-3 times a week on my face and as needed on my body, usually right after I shave for super silky smoothness.  I cleanse, scrub, moisturize – in that order.  You’ll notice that amounts are given in volume, not in mass like I normally prefer.  My scale is broken for the 3rd time and I refuse to buy the same one again but I can’t find one I like.  If anyone has any suggestions, please share!  Volume works well enough here though.

Ingredients & Tools

  • 1 tablespoon cetyl alcohol
  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
  • 2 tablespoons castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 1 tablespoon witch hazel
  • 2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Optiphen
  • 2 teaspoons silk amino acids (optional!)
  • essential oils (optional, just make sure they’re safe for use on the face)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (organic brown if you’re sensitive)
  • 1/4 sea salt (you can use black salt if you’re fancy)
  1. Combine cetyl alcohol, jojoba oil, and vitamin E oil in mixing container.  Heat until just melted, either in the microwave or in simmering water.
  2. In a separate glass or Mason jar, combine glycerin, witch hazel, silk amino acids.  Add to the mixing container.
  3. Using the immersion blender, blend briefly until it’s combined and thick – should take less than 15 seconds.  Add castile soap and essential oils (if using).  Blend for 5 seconds or so.  Transfer mixture to the bowl.  Let it cool about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in Optiphen, salt and sugar.  Spoon into your storage container.


You can add all kinds of stuff and make all kinds of substitutions.  The sky is the limit, let your imagination run free! Send questions my way at and stay tuned for another email question session soon.

Homemade Hair Growth Serum

jbco 2

I recently got a haircut that I hate.  I had just gotten my hair to the length I wanted and went to the stylist to have it cut into the shape I wanted and even it out some.  Unfortunately, just about all my length is gone now.  I am quite annoyed because I told him exactly what I wanted – just the back and the sides, don’t really touch the top or the front.  I should have said something as soon as I saw the first large tuft of hair fall but I think once I saw that, I just kind of gave up and accepted that I would have a haircut I didn’t really like.  *sigh* It happens to the best of us at least once, I guess.  And like everyone is saying, it’s just hair.  It will grow back.  Welllll, I want it back now!  I especially want my little sideburns back.  How you gonna just take those off without permission?  I need those!  So since I’m in a rush for my hair to grow back, I made a little concoction to speed things up a bit.

Scalp stimulation is key for fast hair growth.  I strongly recommend head massages on a regular basis.  Don’t make a habit of playing with your hair but massaging the scalp does wonders for growth.  This serum only requires 3 ingredients.

  1. Jamaican black castor oil
  2. peppermint essential oil
  3. rosemary essential oil

Place about 3 tablespoons of castor oil, 30-40 drops of peppermint oil, 30-40 drops of rosemary oil in a small container.  Mix thoroughly.  Apply to your scalp and MASSAGE your scalp with gentle to moderate pressure for at least 10 minutes.  Let the mixture sit on your scalp and tingle and do its work for at least an half an hour.  You probably want to wear a plastic shower cap so you don’t get oil all over your furniture and stuff.  Shampoo and condition as usual after.  Repeat as often as necessary.  I’m probably going to do this everyday or every other day until I achieve at least 1 or 2 inches of growth.

I think this cut has traumatized me enough that I might go back to long hair and scrap this whole #shorthairdontcare attitude.  Maybe I’ll be brave enough to post a picture in a week or two after I recover and come to terms with my hair.  A lot of drama, I know, but this is the first time I’ve ever truly hated my hair and couldn’t even find a way to improve it somewhat while I wait for growth.  I tried a hat but that was worse.  Maybe it’s about time I build a scarf collection.

Lotion Making Math & Ratio Guide

ratio graphic.jpg

I say it all the time but I’ll say it again.


The teacher in me loves to answer questions.  I just love to help and spread knowledge!  I especially love when people ask me questions about topics we both love…like making beauty products!

Many of the questions I get are about math and proportions of ingredients.  In one of my favorite emails the author said she was “math challenged.”  Fear of math is pretty common.  I completely understand.  In this post, I’m going to quickly discuss how to do the math you need to make lotion.  It’s easy.  At the end, I will share an ingredient ratio guide for products.

Let’s do a quick lesson on percentages.

If a manufacturer says that a preservative is effective at 1% concentration, what do you do?  

If you are making batches of lotion to use at home, you’re probably making fairly small batches, probably no more than 20 ounces.  Measuring 1% of 20 ounces is easy.  First, move the decimal 2 places to the left.

1% becomes 0.01

Now you can multiply.

0.01  x  20 ounces  = 0.2 ounces of preservative

I don’t like using ounces because they’re not precise enough to me.  I like to use grams.  There are 28.3495 grams in an ounce.  So if you’re making 20 ounces,

20   x  28.3495  = 567 grams

0.01   x   567 grams = 6 grams of preservative

If a recipe calls for 60% water, you do the same thing.  First, move the decimal 2 places to the left.

60% becomes 0.60

0.6   x  20 ounces = 12 ounces of water

or, in grams

0.6   x  567 grams = 340 grams of water

Okay, good.  Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here is a great ratio guide.  The grams given are for making a batch that weighs 20 ounces/567 grams.


Notice that I called this a ratio guide, not a stone tablet of ratios.  You may change these.  One of my favorite body cream recipes doesn’t follow this guide too closely.  I wanted it creamier so I increased the butter and emulsifier, decreased the water, and left out thickener.  Please play with proportions!  If you ever want to write and customize your own recipes, you have to be willing to experiment with proportions.  That’s the only way to get information!

I hope this answers any math questions!  As always, please email with questions.

Homemade Face Cleanser

Homemade Face Cleanser

A good cleanser is everything, isn’t it?  I really LOVE this recipe I’m sharing.  Don’t take that lightly.  I really debated about whether to share this recipe.  It’s my own special invention and I’m pretty protective of it.  But I know you will make good use of it :)  As soon as I post this, I need to whip up a batch because my skin is not feeling regular soap one bit.

I love this cleanser because it cleans well but doesn’t dry out your skin.  It even removes makeup, although if you wear waterproof products, you should use a makeup remover before this cleanser.  I like to use plain jojoba or camellia oil as a makeup remover.  This recipe will make 8 ounces/227 grams.

You need:

  • 68 grams castile soap (any scent you like, I like rose and almond)
  • 15 grams aloe vera liquid
  • 40 grams distilled water
  • 13 grams witch hazel
  • 7 grams glycerin
  • 27 grams fractionated coconut oil (or jojoba, kukui nut, camelia, any lightweight oil that absorbs well)
  • 17 grams mango butter
  • 17 grams shea butter
  • 7 grams cetyl alcohol or conditioning emulsifier
  • 16 grams emulsifying wax


  1. Melt the oil, butters, cetyl alcohol, emulsifying wax together using a double boiler or the microwave method (microwave in 30 second increments until just melted, no smoke!)
  2. Gently heat the aloe vera, water, witch hazel, and glycerin together.  You want it to be pretty warm but not too hot to handle.
  3. Pour your oil phase into a mixing container such as a pitcher or bowl.  Pour your water phase into the oil phase container, swirl it gently, then into the mixing container.  This helps you get every bit of your oil phase.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend until combined, about 20 seconds.
  5. Gently pour the soap into your mixture.  Blend until combined.  Pour into your storage container.

Of course, you should avoid getting this in your eyes since it contains soap.  Also, if you plan to keep it longer than a month or so, you should add some preservative.  Three grams of Optiphen would be fine here.  Mine does not make it a month because I use it morning and night so I skip preservative.

If you would like to “pH balance” this to make it closer to neutral, you could add some citric acid or vitamin C or some alpha hydroxy acid (discussed here) until it reaches the desired pH.

You could also replace some of the liquids if you’d like.  You could use tea or colloidal oatmeal or a hydrosol or whatever you like. You could also leave out the shea butter and double the mango butter if you have particularly oily skin.  The possibilities are endless, really.  This cleanser is suitable for all skin types.